How to Self-Treat the Cause of 75% of Your Pain
Do you suffer from aching “knots” in your neck, shoulders and arms, your mid and lower back, or even your hips and legs? These knots are also known as “trigger points,” and if left untreated they can become a center for irritation and inflammation in your muscles and nerves.
This ongoing inflammation leads to fibrosis, which thickens your connective tissues. Thicker connective tissue is less flexible, leading to a vicious cycle of additional irritation, tension, and pain as your body pulls on each trigger point.
What You Need to Know About Trigger Points
It’s possible to have one trigger point, but most people have many. In fact, they are incredibly common. As written in the journal Drugs:[i]
“Muscular pain is often attributed to a myofascial [muscle tissue and the connective tissue in and around it] pain disorder, a condition originally described by Drs Janet Travell and David Simons. Among patients seeking treatment from a variety of medical specialists, myofascial pain has been reported to vary from 30% to 93% depending on the subspecialty practice and setting.
Forty-four million Americans are estimated to have myofascial pain … myofascial pain disorders are characterised by the presence of tender, firm nodules called trigger points. Within each trigger point is a hyperirritable spot, the ‘taut-band’, which is composed of hypercontracted extrafusal muscle fibres. Palpation of this spot within the trigger point provokes radiating, aching-type pain into localised reference zones.”
When in the “active” phase, trigger points are very painful, although the pain may be “referred pain,” meaning it can be felt in seemingly unrelated parts of your body, and even cause surprising symptoms you do not associate with a “knot” in your muscle, such as headaches and joint pain. As the National Association of Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists explains:[ii]
“The active trigger point referral symptom may feel like a dull ache, deep, pressing pain, burning, or a sensation of numbness and fatigue. It can also cause sweating, tearing of eyes, goosebumps and dizziness. The affected dense, shortened muscles, laden with taut bands may even compress and entrap nerves, leading to another secondary set of symptoms.
If unaddressed or ineffectively treated, eventually, other muscles around the dysfunctional one may be required to “take up the slack”, becoming stressed and developing secondary trigger points. It is not unusual for chronic pain patients to have multiple, overlapping referred pain patterns, making diagnosis and treatment more complex.”
Trigger points have been linked to chronic back pain, recurrent migraines, and even heartburn, toothaches and jaw pain.
You can also have “latent” trigger points, which you are probably unaware that you have because they do not cause pain unless you press on them directly. However, a latent trigger point can lead to muscle stiffness and weakness, or even restricted movement, and they can become active again when your muscles are stressed or overworked, you’re fatigued or fighting off an infection, under a lot of emotional stress, and so on.
For instance, if you wake up one morning to find your back has “gone out” again, it could be due to a latent trigger point that has re-surfaced and become active.
The Many Common Causes of Trigger Points
Trigger points are so common because they occur when an area of your body is injured or over-worked — and this refers to not only strains from physical work but also from lack of use, sedentary behavior, a long commute or too much time spent sitting, nutritional deficiencies, emotional stress, lack of sleep, and much, much more.
- Typing on your computer
- Carrying a heavy purse or briefcase
- Lifting your baby or toddler
- Poor posture
- Sitting for long periods in poorly designed furniture
- Tensing or clenching your muscles due to anxiety or emotional stress
In the cases above, your altered patterns of movement put abnormal stress on your muscles, ligaments and joints. This leads to strength and flexibility imbalances in your muscles as well as postural dysfunctions throughout your body.
This “use-abuse-disuse” scenario creates more trigger points in other areas and a vicious pain cycle begins. Before you know it, you’ve developed clusters of active and latent trigger points. You’ve also given up doing the things you love to do because it simply hurts too much.
Conventional trigger point therapy involves the use of anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, injections and even antidepressants, which may temporarily relieve pain but do nothing to heal the trigger point, or prevent more from developing. Further, oftentimes trigger points are completely missed as your source of pain, because you could be feeling pain in your buttocks, hip or even down your leg but the actual trigger point needing to be released is located in your lower back.
Many health care professionals assume the problem is where the pain is, and never address the underlying trigger point that’s causing the pain.
Unfortunately, trigger points are still not widely recognized by conventional physicians, even though researchers wrote nearly a decade ago:
“The treatment of myofascial pain disorders requires that symptomatic trigger points and muscles are identified as primary or ancillary pain generators.”[iii]
Use the Therapy That Solved President John F. Kennedy’s Chronic Back Pain
The link between trigger points and pain was first discovered by Dr. Janet Travell, who went on to write “The Trigger Point Manual” with her colleague Dr. David Simons. Dr. Travell was also former president Kennedy’s personal physician, and is credited with helping him relieve his chronic, disabling back pain.[iv]
Dr. Travell discovered that deep manual pressure applied to trigger points had a dramatic therapeutic effect by quickly eliminating pain. In fact, research shows that sustained manual trigger point therapy is a very effective means of getting rid of chronic myofascial (muscle and tissue) pain. For instance, a study published in October 2011 concluded manual treatment of active trigger points helped reduce shoulder pain and pressure sensitivity in shoulder impingement. [v]
Today, you can go to a massage therapist, physical therapist, chiropractor or even a trigger point specialist to receive manual trigger point therapy, but the success of the treatment depends on the skill level of the practitioner — and well-trained trigger point therapists are very hard to come by, not to mention expensive.
The Trigger Point Self-Treatment System is a welcome alternative, because not only is it incredibly effective, it allows you to lie down and relax while you essentially melt your pain away in the comfort of your own home.
You Can Self-Treat Your Trigger Points in Your Own Home
Developed by a board-certified neurological chiropractor who sought relief for his own disabling low-back and chronic shoulder-arm pain, the Trigger Point Self-Treatment System allows you to identify and then pressure massage your trigger points in the comfort of your own home — as often as necessary.
The program’s unique, easy-to-use design helps you completely relax your muscles while you apply only the amount of deep therapeutic pressure needed, to your comfort level.
There are other hand-held devices available to treat trigger points. However, they require you to tighten your muscles to use, which prevents the deep massage needed to work out and actually “deactivate” your trigger points.
With the Trigger Point Self-Treatment System, you are in complete control. By simply using your body weight, you effortlessly melt your knots away while completely relaxing into the treatment platform. In less than 10 minutes a day, you can feel relief you probably have not known for years. Better still, the Trigger Point Self-Treatment System will release and deactivate your trigger points, thus relieving the underlying cause of your pain.
Isn’t it time you take back the pain-free life you deserve?
With just a few minutes a day you can be set free from your trigger point pain … and with the Trigger Point Self-Treatment System at your fingertips, you can pull it out any time you feel a trigger point developing, keeping trigger points at bay for the rest of your life.
Written By: Updated: January 15,2012